New Lockdown Rules for Online Purchases and Deliveries in SA

Image sourced from Coronavirus Monitor.

South Africa’s Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has a gazette of new rules to be adhered to by couriers and delivery personnel under the country’s adjusted level 4 lockdown.

The new rules were published yesterday in a government gazette from the Minister, who said that it should be read alongside existing regulations for e-commerce under lockdown published in May 2020.

Current regulations state that couriers and delivery personnel must maintain a one and a half metres distance, at least, from other drivers and customers when making deliveries.

Couriers and delivery personnel are also prohibited from entering the homes of customers if that customer or any other resident in the near vicinity isn’t wearing a face mask – cloth mask, or any other item covering the nose and mouth.

Other updated rules include:

  • Couriers must sanitise throughout the day and must be subject to daily thermal scans.
  • All equipment and material used by couriers or other personnel must be sanitised throughout the day, more than once.
  • All drivers/couriers must wear a face mask.
  • Upon delivery of parcels or other items, sanitation processes must be observed.
  • Vehicles must be sanitised daily before the commencement of a shift.
  • All directions in respect of health protocols and social distancing to prevent the exposure of individuals to COVID-19 must be adhered to from packaging and distribution to delivery.

New Rules for Retailers

Currently, retailers are permitted to vendor all goods online, with the exception of alcohol or other prohibited goods, such as narcotics.

Interestingly, the new regulations state that retailers should give focus to selling products/goods manufactured in South Africa over foreign-made items to “limit the social and economic hardship caused by the pandemic on local industries and enable consumer choice to support local producers”.

Other Additional Regulations for Retailers:

  • Retailers must provide as many payment options as possible for consumers. This is to reduce the risk of touch-transmission and to include lower-income customers to access delivery services.
  • Retailers must provide written guidelines for customers on how to safely disinfect their goods before use.
  • When couriers or other delivery personnel collect goods from a warehouse or deport, retailers must put in place collection protocols to ensure that adequate social distancing is maintained.
  • All goods must be sanitised, in line with the guidelines published by the National Department of Health, before leaving the warehouse or depot.

By Luis Monzon
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